Sophie Edenborough - No antibiotics ever - an option for the UK poultry industry?
I’m 27 years old from South Shropshire where I have spent the majority of my life. I studied at the University of Bristol where I obtained a degree in Anatomical Science with Veterinary Anatomy before returning home following my graduation.
I have spent the last 5 years working for Liquid Mineral Services, and whilst not originally from a farming background I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the industry so far and have developed a passion for agriculture. During these 5 years I also obtained a Masters degree in Veterinary Physiotherapy, but such was my desire to continue working in agriculture that I did not take up the opportunity for a career change.
To begin with I worked on the dairy side of the business assisting farmers in mineralising their cows through our Liquid Mineral systems. In the last few years I have set up the poultry division of the business and it is from this that I became interested in and wanted to investigate further my chosen study topic. Through my job I have been involved in implementing a water treatment system as part of a complete program that was developed in America to aid a reduction in the use of antibiotics. It is because of this that I want to travel to other parts of the world to investigate other methods of achieving the same aim.
Outside of work, I am a keen horse rider and compete at a national level in the discipline of show jumping. I am very lucky to have the support of my parents Phil and Jane, as well as my brother Chris and all my colleagues at Liquid Mineral Services. I am hugely grateful to The Three Counties Agricultural Society for sponsoring me through the Nuffield Scholarship.
As part of my job running the poultry section of our business I became involved in a project called Seed, Feed and Weed; a concept developed in America to try to reduce antibiotic use in poultry farming. Through this I developed an interest in antimicrobial resistance and the potential link to antibiotic use in poultry and as a result I started to look at other ways in which farms can try to cut down their usage. With the current pressure in the UK for farmers to look at the way they use antibiotics I feel it is important that they have other options to facilitate farming profitably but reduce their antibiotic usage. Through my study topic I want to investigate methods being used around the world to reduce antibiotic usage. I believe one of the key aims is to find products and practices that are actually being used on farm and are producing the desired results, as opposed to concepts that work in theory or in the lab but do not follow through with results when they are applied in the field.
I am hoping to visit Canada, America, Thailand, Netherlands and Denmark as part of my study tour and I am thankful to the Three Counties Agricultural Society for enabling me to have the opportunity to experience some of these wonderful places.